Sadly, many domestic dogs today are obese. In fact, nearly 50% of all domestic dogs in North America between 5 and 11 years of age weigh more than they should1. Obesity can be extremely dangerous for a number of reasons. Most importantly, though, it can put dogs at risk for a range of diseases.
The first line of defense against obesity is diet food. You cannot simply feed your canine less of their usual food, as this may lead to nutritional deficiencies. Therefore, switching to a new food for weight loss is vital.
Wet food often works well for this purpose, as it contains more water. This water helps your dog stay full for longer.
We’ve reviewed the best wet dog foods for weight loss. These foods should help your dog lose weight while also ensuring proper hydration.
Disclaimer: The foods reviewed here were chosen because they have certain characteristics that might help with some of the causes or consequences of this medical condition. However, they are not a medical treatment or a substitute for medical treatment. Keep in mind that each medical case is different and what works for some pets may not work for others. Your veterinarian is the right person to advise you on the best diet for your pet’s individual case.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites of 2023
|Best Overall||Natural Balance Original Reduced Calorie||
|Best Value||Purina One SmartBlend Entrée||
|Premium Choice||Wellness CORE Weight Management||
|Best for Puppies||Purina Pro Plan Sport High Protein||
|Vet’s Choice||Hill’s Prescription Diet Metabolic Wet Dog Food||
The 10 Best Wet Dog Foods for Weight Loss
1. Natural Balance Original Reduced Calorie – Best Overall
|Main Ingredients||Chicken Broth, Chicken, Chicken Liver, Salmon, Brown Rice|
Natural Balance Original Ultra Reduced Calorie is easily the best overall wet dog food for weight loss. It includes tons of meat ingredients, including chicken and salmon very high on the ingredient list. Duck is included as well, as the flavor suggests, but it doesn’t appear until further down the list.
Instead of water, this formula utilizes chicken broth for added moisture. This ingredient provides extra nutrients and flavor to the food, which is often very needed for weight loss formulas.
As the name suggests, this formula is specifically made to help dogs lose weight. It includes reduced calories and a higher nutritional content, which ensures that your dog gets everything they need even when they eat less. We also loved the high number of omega-fatty acids this food contains, largely because of the included salmon. For this reason, this food also supports your dog’s coat and skin health.
2. Purina One SmartBlend Dog Food – Best Value
|Main Ingredients||Beef, Chicken, Beef Broth, Liver, Pork Lungs|
Technically, the Purina One SmartBlend Beef & Brown Rice Entrée isn’t specifically designed for weight loss. However, it does have fewer calories than other formulas and has a decently high protein amount. Therefore, it may work well for losing weight for dogs with minor problems.
Plus, it is much less expensive than other options out there. For this reason, we highly recommend it as the best wet dog food for weight loss for the money.
The first few ingredients are nothing but meat sources, including some organ meats. Beef broth is utilized to increase the moisture content of this food. This broth also adds extra nutrients to the food and makes it a bit tastier.
This food includes added omega fatty acids, which may help improve your dog’s skin and coat. It is grain-inclusive, as it contains brown rice and oatmeal further down the list.
3. Wellness CORE Grain-Free Weight Management – Premium Choice
|Main Ingredients||Chicken, Chicken Broth, Turkey Broth, Pork Liver, Whitefish|
Wellness CORE Grain-Free Weight Management is designed explicitly to promote lean muscle mass while helping your dog lose weight. It is much higher in protein than other formulas on this list, while it is also extremely low in fat.
Therefore, this formula works well if you’re planning on implementing an exercise routine. It works best for dogs that are somewhat active. Otherwise, the added protein may go to waste.
This formula contains tons of different meat products. For instance, chicken is the first ingredient. There are also several types of organ meats and fish included, which add omega fatty acids to this dog food.
Furthermore, this formula doesn’t include any by-products, wheat, or soy.
4. Purina Pro Plan Sport High Protein – Best for Puppies
|Main Ingredients||Chicken, Liver, Meat By-Products, Water, Rice|
Generally, you shouldn’t need to put your puppy on a weight control formula. While some puppies may gain weight faster than you’d guess, putting them on a strict diet can potentially impact their growth. If you’ve spoken to your vet and decided that it is best to put your puppy on a weight-management diet, we suggest something like Purina Pro Plan Sport High Protein Chicken & Rice Wet Dog Food.
This formula isn’t necessarily designed for weight loss. However, it is very high in protein, which may help your puppy control their weight a bit more. Real chicken is the first ingredient, providing lots of extra protein and amino acids.
However, not all the ingredients in this formula are great. For instance, it includes meat by-product meal, which is basically mystery meat. There is no way to tell what this meat is or where it comes from. Unnamed liver is also added, but we don’t know where that liver comes from, either.
5. Hill’s Prescription Diet Metabolic Wet Dog Food – Vet’s Choice
|Main Ingredients||Water, Pork Liver, Whole Grain Corn, Chicken, Powdered Cellulose|
If your dog seriously needs to lose weight, you may want to invest in Hill’s Prescription Diet Metabolic Chicken Flavor Wet Dog Food. This wet dog food works great for dogs that are obese and need to lose weight to prevent health problems.
This formula includes a decent amount of quality meats, such as pork liver and chicken. Furthermore, it is also grain inclusive and includes whole ground corn. Surprisingly, dogs are quite good at digesting corn. Therefore, this formula works very well for most dogs.
It includes tons of added nutrients, including taurine. Plus, it includes a unique fiber plant that helps optimize your pet’s weight. You should see serious results in as little as two months. For this reason, vets recommend it highly for dogs that are seriously obese.
6. Solid Gold Fit & Fabulous Weight Control Dog Food
|Main Ingredients||Chicken Broth, Chicken, Chicken Liver, Ocean Whitefish, Sweet Potatoes|
For those who have the money to spend, you may want to look into Solid Gold Fit & Fabulous Weight Control. This formula is crafted using high-quality ingredients, such as chicken and ocean whitefish. It includes high amounts of protein, which can help maintain your dog’s muscles while they are losing weight.
The whitefish included in this formula raises the omega fatty acid content. This helps support your dog’s coat and skin. It also includes a range of veggies, including sweet potatoes and green beans. These help add fiber to the formula, as it doesn’t include any grains.
Like most weight loss formulas, this one is rather low in fat. Therefore, it works best for dogs that aren’t terribly active and really need to lose weight.
7. Blue Buffalo Fit & Healthy Weight Control Formula
|Main Ingredients||Chicken, Chicken Broth, Whitefish, Potatoes, Chicken Liver|
Blue Buffalo is a well-known dog food brand that is best remembered for its grain-free foods. They also create a weight loss formula called Blue Buffalo Fit & Healthy Weight Control Formula Wet Dog Food. This formula is designed with lower amounts of fat and calories to help your dog lose weight.
Chicken is the first ingredient, which is high in protein and amino acids. Most dogs do very well on chicken, especially since it is lean. Whitefish and various organ meats are also added, as these add extra nutrients to the dog food. Chicken broth is used instead of water, which helps increase the overall nutritional content.
However, this formula does include a lot of potatoes and peas. These are not necessarily recommended for dogs, as they are connected to heart conditions in dogs.
8. Side by Side Warming Complete & Balanced Stew
Chicken Broth, Chicken Hearts, Chicken Necks, Lamb Hearts, Chicken Liver
Compared to other formulas on this list, the Side by Side Warming Complete & Balanced Chicken & Lamb Stew is a bit different. It includes tons of different meat ingredients, including a variety of organ meats. These provide extra nutrition that your dog will likely benefit from.
While this formula isn’t specifically designed for weight loss, it does include a lower amount of fat than usual. Therefore, it may work well for dogs with minor weight gain problems.
Many customers love that this company sources its ingredients ethically. The chicken is farm-raised and hormone-free, for instance.
With that said, many dogs don’t seem like they like this formula. There are many reports of dogs refusing to eat it—even those that aren’t exactly picky. Plus, this recipe is much more expensive than other options out there.
9. Canidae All Life Stages Formula Canned Dog Food
|Main Ingredients||Chicken, Chicken Broth, Brown Rice, Chicken Liver, Lamb|
Canidae All Life Stages Less Active Formula Canned Dog Food contains mostly chicken and a lower level of protein and fat than other formulas. In fact, this formula is specifically designed for dogs that are much less active than others. Therefore, it works particularly well for lazier dogs that can’t—or won’t—exercise.
The main ingredients in this food are meat-based. For instance, it includes chicken and chicken liver, as well as lamb further down the list. All of these add to the protein content and provided much-needed amino acids.
Because only lean meats are used, there is fairly little fat in this food.
This formula does work for all breeds and all ages. It works great in homes with multiple dogs, as it works for practically all overweight or obese dogs.
10. Natural Balance Fat Dogs Wet Dog Food
|Main Ingredients||Chicken Broth, Chicken, Chicken Liver, Potatoes, Salmon|
Natural Balance Fat Dogs Targeted Nutrition Wet Dog Food is another Natural Balance recipe for overweight and obese dogs. This formula contains very little fat and slightly lower protein than average. It is also quite low in calories while having a high moisture content. Therefore, your dog will fill up on the included chicken broth, lowering their appetite.
For the most part, this food contains only meat-based ingredients. For instance, chicken, chicken liver, and salmon all appear high on the ingredient list. The added salmon increases the omega-fatty acid content of this food, which may help improve your dog’s coat and skin health.
L-carnitine is also added, which may help your dog lose weight.
On a more negative note, this food isn’t well-liked by picky dogs (or even un-picky dogs). Therefore, it is only recommended for dogs that will eat practically anything. There are also some quality control problems. For instance, many users reported that the food has a different consistency each time they order it.
Buyer’s Guide: Finding the Best Wet Dog Food for Weight Loss
There is a lot you need to consider when purchasing weight management food for your canine. These formulas differ widely. Some are low in protein. Others are high in protein. Some contain lots of meat, while others are carb-heavy.
Therefore, you’ll need to consider all of these factors when determining which food is best for your dog.
What Should Weight Management Dog Foods Contain?
What exactly counts as a weight management dog food varies. Different brands use different metrics to determine what counts as a weight-loss food and what doesn’t. There is not an overarching policy that any of these brands must follow. Therefore, any brand can technically name any dog food “weight management” food.
For this reason, it is vital that you check before purchasing food.
Generally, diet dog food contains above-average protein to help your dog stay full for longer. Usually, below-average fat and below-average calories are also included. These metrics help ensure that your dog receives the nutrients they need, while also going into a calorie deficit.
Can’t I Just Feed a Normal Dog Food?
Often, dog owners are tempted to simply feed their dogs less of their existing food. After all, you know that they like their food and tolerate it. However, this is not recommended.
Dog foods are designed to provide your dog with the right amount of nutrients when fed as directed. If you start feeding them less than directed, your dog will consume fewer calories but also fewer nutrients. Diet dog foods are a bit more nutritionally dense to take this into account, but your average dog food is not.
Therefore, you need to feed your dog food that is designed for weight loss—not just feed them less of their usual food.
Generally, when we start reducing our dog’s calories, they will feel hungrier. However, there are several things that can affect how full your dog feels besides calories. For instance, fiber can make your dog feel fuller, but it isn’t digestible. In the end, this means that it doesn’t actually add any extra calories. Therefore, many diet foods include fairly high levels of fiber.
There are several ways this fiber can be added. Concentrated fiber can be used, such as pea fiber. However, dog food can also utilize ingredients that are simply high in fiber, such as whole grains.
Moisture content can also be used to increase how long your dog stays full. Therefore, some vets may suggest wet food in particular, as it tends to have more moisture than dry food (hence the name). For these reasons, wet foods utilized mostly for weight management are usually wetter than other foods. Keep this in mind if your dog is picky about texture.
Fat is typically what gives food its taste. Therefore, when food is low in fat, it is usually low in taste, as well. For this reason, we highly recommend that you’re careful about the quality of the taste that the food contains. After all, food isn’t very helpful if your dog won’t eat it—even if it would help them lose a lot of weight.
However, you also don’t want your dog to consume artificial flavors. Not only are these often bad for them, but they can put off your dog to more natural flavors. Many dogs that start eating artificial flavors will not consume foods without them.
Therefore, you’ll need to rely on foods that increase their taste using natural flavors without adding extra fat. Often, yeast is utilized to do this, as it contains a strong umami flavor that many dogs like.
Diet Alone Often Isn’t Enough
Typically, you will need to exercise your dog and switch them to a weight management food. Most obese dogs simply don’t move around enough. Many people are surprised when their dogs fall into the obese category, as they don’t eat all that much. However, most of the time, it is because they don’t move very much—not because they eat a lot.
Therefore, to help your dog lose weight, you’ll often need to increase their exercise, as well. Physical activity is very good for dogs, in general. If possible, we recommend you increase their exercise to at least 30 minutes of brisk activity a day.
However, you should speak with your vet if your canine is injured or has any underlying conditions. If a dog physically cannot exercise, then their diet becomes even more important.
There are tons of weight management foods out there. We reviewed several options above that may work for your dog. These foods are also extremely high in moisture, which may help your dog stay full longer. When paired with exercise, these foods can seriously improve your dog’s weight.
Our favorite weight management food is Natural Balance Original Ultra Reduced Calorie. This formula is extremely low in calories and is designed explicitly for overweight dogs. However, it is high in protein and full of meat.
If you’re on a budget, then Purina One SmartBlend Beef & Brown Rice Entrée may work well for dogs with minor weight problems. It isn’t exactly designed for weight loss, but it is lower in calories than most formulas out there.
Featured Image Credit: Javier Brosch, Shutterstock